Monday, November 1, 2010

Another Year...

...another Fury Championship. I think Chelsea Putnam said it best during the mixed finals broadcast "Matty Sang, you are the best coach in ultimate". Truer words have never been spoken. For those like me that have heard about DoG's 6-peat for years but weren't around for it, insert Fury. Two years ago they lost one of the best individuals in the ultimate community, Gwen Ambler, and they haven't missed a beat. It may have been taken a 12 point comeback but the streak was still alive. Winning with new faces, a better test of a championship caliber team there is not. Congrats across the board.

I was texting back and forth with my cousin Alex about Revolver and he seemed to think their performance was the most dominant in Club Nationals history. Now he is definitely a NW homer, and you can't blame him, but despite the hyperbole, there is some truth to his statement. Coming into this tournament the expectations on Revolver were probably the most a team has felt since Sockeye back in 2007. Three years ago the Fish were trying to repeat AND earn the chance to represent the USA and they delivered, albeit with two nail biters in semis and finals.

As for Revolver, everyone knew they were the team to beat. Some made a big deal out of Ironside's undefeated streak but every time it was brought up I thought to myself, "Really? What are you 12?" Within the US or not, they got whipped right in the middle of the season. Way to go ESPN/Favre and harp on a topic no one wants to talk about. You could totally see it on Will Neff's face during his post game interview that the streak was more of a liability than anything else. They may have been the 1 seed but the focus, talent, and experience of Revolver was as good as billed.

Going into the tournament I was curious to know if Revolver would underperform the way Bravo did in 2008 when they were easy favorites to win it all in a double peak year. However, after SF's win over Chain there was no doubt in my mind. ATL may have been in a down year, but when you avenge a crushing loss with a 15-6 power pool win, you are sending a message, to them and any 7 who dare stand 70 yards away. That game also reminded me of Bravo in 2008 when they avenged their Finals loss to Sockeye 15-14 in quarters, but in Revolver's case it was a stepping stone to Sunday glory and not Saturday exhaustion.

Revolver did face some stiff opposition in Doublewide and I think Austin should be very proud of their semifinal performance. They have had a few good seasons now and the youthful rejuvenation of Brodie et al seems to be just what the doctor ordered. Historically, DW seems to be in the same category as Furious and Ring in that they are a talented team, but struggle in the free agent department. Not in 2010 however. Hopefully the pipeline can stay alive.

And then there were two. I don't know what it is, but Ironside has really struggled in these games. In 2008 Ironside was easily the better team on paper going into the finals, especially considering their youth, Jam's lack thereof, and a pool play win over SF, but it didn't matter. Confidence was the limiting factor then and it was the limiting factor yesterday. Boston seemed gun shy against Revolver and the Bay Area capitalized. It seems a lack of depth in the NE is Ironside's downfall. I mean come on, you win your region with 4 victories? The closest of which was a 15-10 semifinal win over PoNY? Revolver has had to go through Sockeye, Furious, Jam, Rhino, etc.. since Day 1 so it is no wonder they brought swagger in buckets.

Ironside's D-line was legit though. Colin Mahoney made an amazing layout catch block on Beau late in the game and with a play like that, you could really tell the D-line came to win. Unfortunately the O-line did not. Oh well, much like Bravo in 2007, you were simply going up against a more focused, talented, and experienced opponent.

Wow, I gotta tell ya, it was surreal seeing my CT buddies suit up on Sunday. Korber, Kendra, KG, Napoleon, Mazur, Kravitzes, X, etc.. I am so proud of all of you guys. First year in existence and you put together one of the most impressive seasons in any division and when faced with some major gut checks (i.e. two losses, one in pool play) you grind it out and make the finals.

Unfortunately, the buck stopped there and Polar Bears Ctrl C'd and V'd their Thursday success. Knowing 808 and the LPC crew a little bit, this win was not a surprise. For several years the 925 has been quite close and while this may have been their first year as Polar Bears, a Div III championship and some major college noise say otherwise. I have seen few teams as close as this group and when it comes to success in this game, especially on offense, a tight knit bunch is clutch. All season D5 dominated which basically means their D-line dominated. Going into the series CT knew their O-line was their weak spot and Polar Bears' zone D exposed them big time.

Plus PBs had this blur of a female named An-Chi Tsou. Holy crap! Could anyone stop this girl? It definitely says a lot when a woman busts out in a mixed game. I've always thought mixed is all about your females and when most say "its basically 4 on 4", this game was refreshing. Plus rather than hearing "(insert name) Smith", we got "(pause) An-Chi (pause) Tsou?" Hilarious Chelsea. Robot's play was also very impressive but not unexpected. Since almost my first day as a squid, I have known about this guy and his final goal was just another in a slew of spectacular plays I've seen out of him. He reminds me a lot of Kurt Gibson in that he has superb body control and makes exceedingly awkward, but athletic, plays as if they were nothing. Korber is easily the best player I have ever played with/against and to poster him like that at such a big moment was....I got nothing. Congratulations!

D5 wasn't without their own superstars however and Justin Segool really played well. I remember at tryouts being much more impressed with Brandon Redding, but Segool really asserted himself as D5's premier deep threat. Regrettably, the highlight reel plays that I'm sure D5 is used to seeing out of Korber, Morrone, Rafe, DJX, etc.. just weren't there yesterday. I remember the second point of the game, a long one where D5 couldn't punch in the upwind break despite two hucks to the endzone, being a moment of fear for me. In that instance, it just seemed like the big plays weren't coming and when your O-line is weak, small ball is not an option you want to have to rely on.

In the end D5 had a successful season by anyone's standards and I'm sure those that had their doubts in May/June about playing Mixed in New Haven were fully confident in their decision yesterday, even in defeat.

Closing Thoughts
In watching the feed I quickly realized why I decided to ease off on the whole journalism gig. While ultimate is exciting to watch and follow, the only word I can come up with to describe the way it is packaged is "unprofessional". From the sombreros to the neon green sunglasses, the game just looks hokie. No wonder no one takes us seriously. I also agree with most of the RSD criticism about the commentary and would just like to add that the lack of focus was really irritating. Getting the score wrong over and over, talking about high fives, bold/incorrect decisions over and over, come on. My girlfriend (not a frisbee person) overheard the broadcast and consistently was puzzled by the dialog. I subject her to quite a bit of ESPN and even she can tell the difference.

I am conflicted when criticizing the job UV does though. I've been there in the editing sessions and I know how hard they work. However, this is not the first year UV has done this, its the 3rd and its also not the first time some of the commentators have done this. However, rather than improve year to year, things seem stagnant. I fear for UV's grip when/if CBS comes into Sarasota because they could easily take Rob's gig. In all honesty, they do a way better job and if you claim they have more resources, I suggest charging for access to nationals video footage. Rob did it with UVTV.

I also miss Tom Styles. His voice over the WUGC Finals was incredible. No offense to the current commentators, but the first hurdle in broadcasting is having a good voice. Tom has one, the current crew does not. You can call foul, but its just like sports, if you're fat, slow, short, and/or clumsy, you probably don't belong on the field.

just my thoughts

match diesel

Monday, October 11, 2010

Back on the horse

With the invitations finalized for Sarasota, I wanted to toss out some spittle.

Open - 1 Seeds
Ironside - Looking red hot this year after a less than dominant worlds. While their free agent heavy roster seems to have had chemistry issues in the past, it looks like they are finally clicking. However, I'm not convinced they are better than Revolver. ECC caught Revolver at their worst and since then Boston has only beaten up east coast teams and has yet to play DW.

Revolver - They are the world champs so it is tough to put them behind anyone. Their roster seems to be the best balance of talent and experience which seems to be the recipe for success in Florida. Plus a UPA title would scratch an itch a world title only seems to exacerbate.

Doublewide - There are few things I am more excited about this Fall than DW as a one seed. Pipelines are a funny thing and what was once CUT to Sockeye or Mamabord to Revolver, is now Florida to Doublewide. I doubt Kurt intended to have little bro and Brodie fly out to Austin to suit up with him again, but I am sure no one is complaining now.

Chain - I am not sure how Chain is feeling right now, but I am fairly certain it is similar to what Sean Payton and Drew Brees are drawing up in the locker room. Given the roster additions of Sammy CK, Jolian, and Kiran Thomas, Chain was the front runner to win Worlds (or at least make the finals) and cruise through the series. However, a 4th place finish in Prague and a backdoor entry to Sarasota are not what HotLanta had in mind. Much like the Saints, confidence is not what it once was.

The Rest of the Field
Furious - Yes!! Back at the show. While they remind of the Condors and/or Ring with the slip in competitive ability, at least the Monkey has returned.

PoNY - Way to match Bodhi's big win over GOAT by taking them down for the first time. PoNY always seems to be the perpetual 2004 USA Olympic Basketball team with more talent than success but they definitely earned some swagger this weekend.

Streetgang - Siiick. Way to stick it to the Condors when it really mattered. Pumba I'm still waiting for my long sleeve. Tell me where to send the check.

Madison Club - Natties or not, take a lesson from Benjamin Franklin: We must hang together or we will hang separately.

Truck Stop - WOOOO-Datch! I got nothing else.

District 5 - Despite my connection to D5, I haven't written on this cinderella team. Drinking Korber's Kool-Aid but getting handed my hat was a tough pill to swallow, especially given my odd position in the ultimate community. Regardless, their run this year has been exceptional and I think they are the biggest story in the mixed scene this year. Their 3-0 record against Slow White during the regular season basically primed them for an ass kicking and given my conversation with Kendra, DJX, and KG a week ago, a 4-15 whipping wasn't a surprise. Either way, they are Natties bound and considering their success so far, they will be confident going to Sarasota. But a bigger target their is not in 2010.

Oh and for irony purposes, I'd like to respond to this comment form my original D5 post:

"In the end though, do you expect Connecticut to have competitive parity with Boston?"


LA Metro - Great job taking the region. Once again I am so stoked for my buddy JAM. I think I need two hands to count how many 2nd place or worse finishes Metro/Pleasuretown had, so I'm sure taking out Barrio and 7 Figures was a touch of heaven.

just my thoughts

match diesel

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Revisiting Henry Callahan

Today I got an email from Jay Callahan, the surviving brother of Henry Callahan, informing me that Henry's killer, Robert Wieghard, is up for parole again on November 10th. For those interested in dismissing his parole request for another five years (maximum), please send letters to:

Colorado Parole Board

Attention: Chairman

1600 West 24th Street

Pueblo, CO 81003

Reference: WIEGHARD, ROBERT A. DOC# 45728

In addition to this request, I wanted to revisit Henry Callahan for the sole reason I wrote my initial story in the first place, to remember him. All of us know what a Callahan is, what the Callahan award is, and what the Callahan rules are, but fewer of us know the story of where this name comes from. For those unfamiliar, please read the following story. Then if you're motivated enough to send the Colorado Parole Board a letter, Jay would greatly appreciate it.

What do most folks think when they see something like this? Callahan right? Ok great, but where does that name come from? Who was "Callahan" and why is a catch block D in the endzone named after him? Why are the rules named after him? Why is the college ultimate MVP award named after him? Two years ago, I didn't know and I think most folks out there still don't.

First and foremost his name was Henry Pfau Callahan. He was born on December 11th, 1957, in Waukegan, Illinois. His mother and father were Joan and Harold Callahan. Henry was the youngest of 4 boys (Joe, Pete, Jay, and Henry) and he also had 1 older sister (Melissa) and 3 younger ones (Charlotte, Shelagh, and Amy). He attended Lake Forest Academy, in Lake Forest, Illinois for high school and graduated in 1975. Henry was a standout athlete in high school and loved basketball, long distance running, and golf. In addition to being very athletic, Henry was also extremely independent. His mother, Joan, lovingly referred to Henry as always being a "free spirit". Rather than attend the University of Illinois, as most of his family had, he headed westward and attended the University of Oregon, in Eugene. As a student at U of O, Henry studied Finance and was drawn to sports of all kinds. His competitive nature can easily be seen with his relationship to his older brother James. On a visit to Eugene, James lovingly goaded his brother that Henry had never beaten him in golf. In response, the never-quit Henry dragged his older brother to the course, day in and day out until Henry was finally victorious.

It is not exactly known how Henry was turned on to ultimate. Maybe he was shown disc golf and then ultimate and the idea of running AND playing frisbee appealed to him. With skills in basketball, golf and long distance running, it is no wonder he liked disc. It takes skill, patience, talent, endurance and athleticism, things Henry had stockpiled in his closet. In any event, at this point in the late 70's there was only 1 other college ultimate team in the Northwest, Washington State University. This was insufficient for Henry and he took it upon himself to start the first Ultimate Club at the University of Oregon. He pitched the idea to the club sports office at UO and on October 5th, 1978, the first Oregon Ultimate club was born and the team was given $300. The next task was to come up with a team name and Henry and his disc friends quickly settled on the "Low Flying Ducks". A name which Oregon loosely held onto until 2001 when they went from the Ducks to a name better suited for an elite but sophisticated group, the "Eugene Gentlemen's Organization" or EGO. In addition to this, Henry also made some pretty powerful friends and convinced a young entrepreneur in Phil Knight to donate $10,000 to this new team as a sponsor. EGO still wears this sponsor's logo today, you might recognize it as a NIKE swoosh.

It was after this formation of Oregon Ultimate that Henry really began to impact ultimate. He knew the potential for this game and he wanted to see it come to fruition. He had a vision of an intensely athletic, albeit spirited game that should be played in parks and college campuses throughout the country. He began to lobby the UPA to change the rules of the game to favor more athletic and fair play. At this point in time, things like a stall count were non-existent, or loosely followed at best and Henry wanted to accelerate the game and make it more challenging yet more fun. Another thing that was fantastic about Henry was his commitment to "spirit of the game", perhaps when SOTG wasn't even that well known. He was notorious for playing extremely intensely, yet he never contested fouls. His belief in the game was that "karma will play out here". Nearly 30 years later, I am sure that most ultimate players will agree that when it comes to poor calls, most of the time, the universe tends to unfold as it should.

In addition to lobbying the UPA, Henry also worked tirelessly to improve not only his own game (with daily 7 mile runs and more sprints than his team mates would have liked) but he also wanted to expand the sport around him. He started and taught ultimate PE courses at UO and these still exist today. He is also credited with starting the Darkstar Alliance, which has been an ultimate organization that has lasted for many years and is responsible for putting on tournaments in Eugene as well as competing in both open and coed club tournaments. One of my favorite things that I have read about Henry is that he thought that "the nature of the game brings out the cooperation in people". Even 30 years ago, folks competed against one another but they still wanted to "have a good time and meet new friends". Henry always encouraged his teammates as well as his opponents to go out for beers after games and really be friends as well as competitors. This camaraderie still exists today and most of the friends I have in the ultimate community have come from playing intense physical contests between opponents and then celebrating our mutual love for the game afterwards. I am not sure where this trend was begat but I am glad Henry perpetuated it.

After graduating from Oregon in 1980, Henry returned to his roots in Illinois but only as a pit stop. Henry was a free spirit and wanted a change of scenery. After a brief stint in Waukegan, Illinois, he headed back west towards California. In January of 1982, he stopped to visit his older brother James, in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to more golf matches between these two, Henry fell in love with Boulder. The urban yet small town feel and beautiful scenery probably rivaled Eugene and Henry found his calling. He decided to stay in Colorado and he took a job at Bennigan's Tavern. This was not his most lucrative option, seeing that he was offered a job at a more "upscale" restaurant (The Greenbriar). However, Henry was very light hearted and figured Bennigan's would "be more fun". Given his charismatic yet friendly nature, Henry quickly moved up the ranks and became Headwaiter. Not long afterwards, he had his sights set on entering Bennigan's manager training program.

However, fate would have other plans. On June 23rd, 1982, a heroin addict and career criminal, Robert Wieghard, robbed Bennigan's. Robert had been convicted for multiple crimes that included armed robbery, possession of narcotics, larceny, fraud, and breaking and entering. Henry, being the rock and headwaiter of Bennigan's, dealt with the criminal as he demanded money from the cash register. Robert got his money and without reason or cause decided to take the life of a man infinitely more evolved and honorable than himself. Henry was murdered while seated with his hands in the air. At arms length, Robert ended Henry's life with a solitary gunshot to the head. After committing this horrible atrocity, Robert left the restaurant only to be later arrested, tried and convicted. His criminal mind would not end there as he attempted to bribe a Jefferson County Jail inmate to travel to Michigan and kill the eyewitness waitress in the case for $3,500. Luckily, this never happened and Robert was sentenced to life in prison and was up for parole in 20 years.

One of the many sad things about this story was that at the time, sentences for crimes like this were relatively mild. If this crime had been comitted 3 years later the sentence would have been doubled. The family wanted the death penalty but the prosecutor (Alex Hunter) was "wimpy" and wouldn't push for it. He would later go on to air ball the JonBenét Ramsey murder case 15 years later. Robert came up for parole in 2005 at which time I first learned of this story when I read this post by Charles Kerr on RSD. In retrospect, I find it sad that there were only 9 responses. Hopefully Charles got the support he was looking for. In any event, Robert was denied parole which he is up for again in 2010. Recently he has applied for "community corrections halfway house placement" which would allow him to re-enter society on a limited basis. The Callahan family staunchly opposed this and he was denied but he can re-apply every 6 months.

In the wake of Sean Taylor's murder, I realized that I did not know anything about Henry Callahan. I did not even know his first name. I knew that he was murdered, but aside from that I was ignorant. After asking a few friends if they knew anything about Henry, they sheepishly replied "not a thing". His legacy should and will live on. In 1983 at the World Flying Disc Championships in Santa Cruz, California six Oregon players stepped out on to the line. Henry would join them, however, and his remains were laid down in an urn on the field as the 7th player. These 6 Oregon players gave it there all and when they scored that first point they lovingly cheered "That one's for Henry".

The UPA has not forgotten Henry and in 1996 they named the college MVP award after him. Keith Monahan (Oregon State) and Val Kelly (UPenn) won the award that year and I am sure they both held their awards high in remembrance of Henry and all he has given to the sport. I am sure he would have been proud in 2003 when two Oregon players (Ben Wiggins and Chelsea Dengler) won the award. I like to think the sport has become what Henry would have wanted. Today there are over 500 college ultimate teams that travel all over the country to compete in a game that "Henry lived for". They embody not only the hard-core dedication to athleticism that Henry held near and dear to his heart, but also the spirit of the game, the friendship, the respect between players. I may not be the athlete that Henry or many other ultimate players are but I like to think I hold the mutual respect and love for my fellow ultimate players. The subculture that ultimate has developed over the last 40 years is amazing and spectacular in its own right. However, without people like Henry Callahan, the sport would not have grown to the strength and respect it has today. We are all in Henry's debt and hopefully his story and legacy will live on as our sport develops worldwide.

On a lighter note, Henry's niece Katie Callahan (who he never got to meet) plays soccer for the University of Tampa. Recently, they made the final four in the Div II NCAA college soccer tournament and beat Grand Valley St 2-1 in over time. This allowed Tampa to advance to the finals for the first time in the school's history. Katie and the rest of the Tampa Spartans played Franklin Pierce on Saturday December 1st and managed to win the NCAA Div II finals in a shootout earning the school's first DiV II women's soccer national championship. For more information click here

I would like to thank James (Jay) Callahan (Henry's brother) for his help on this article. He has been absolutely fantastic in giving me his own personal thoughts on such a difficult subject as well as share documents relevant to this story. Jay also helped me find some of Henry's old team mates (Steve Mace and Pete Crosby) who have been invaluable sources, both factually and emotionally.

Check out this article from 2003 for more information about Henry.

Lastly, today would have been Henry's 50th birthday. Please remember his story. Tell it to your rookies. Spread the word about Henry because as the years progress his memory can potentially fade. This is not the first article regarding his life and I hope it is not the last. I just wanted to remind everyone out there who a great man in ultimate was.

match diesel

PS sorry Chicken, nothing but love. At least you are playing in the finals at club nationals and Honda is just married and fat.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Benefits of the Status Quo

Now that the American World Cup fever has broken, we can all go back to our regular lives, pending any sort of international commitment. However, it would be a tragedy if we did not learn any lessons from the premier showcase of the world's game.

In watching a handful of matches, it seemed fairly obvious that much like baseball, the call for instant replay in soccer is growing. USA's offsides call in the Slovenia game was just the beginning and yesterday someone else besides the red, white, and blue had a reason to bitch. Nevertheless, FIFA seems content with blowing off any and everyone that questions their referee's calls and I am doubtful any major changes will occur. They have been running the World Cup for 80 years without it, why change things now? Once again the information age proves to be a mixed blessing with new data just showing us problems we've always had, just never really noticed.

Anyway, watching commentators, coaches, players, fans, etc... all talk about instant replay and officiating in soccer got me thinking about our little sport. Just a few years ago I could not have been more adamant that Ultimate needed referees, but now that I am a few years older and wiser, I am beginning to see things differently. Much like the children's story "If you give a mouse a cookie" introducing changes to the officiating system just opens the door for more. First its instant replay for goals, then offsides, then handballs and pretty soon the game looks completely different. Likewise with Ultimate. I cannot believe I am writing this but, once you have a more direct role for calls I can imagine more and more things slipping through the cracks (rather than being caught) and pretty soon the game that we once thought would be improved by impartial judges is now a mockery because of them.

The underlying assumption regarding officials in ultimate is that they will reduce the number of suspect calls. However, what if this is erroneous? What if they make matters worse? Forget the objective standpoint of, "If someone is watching, the foul/travel/pick/etc... will be called" because, as the World Cup has shown, even trained professionals at the highest levels in the most popular sport, get it wrong. That being said, I am beginning to believe that the status quo has more merit than I have historically thought. Perhaps this self-officiating system is worth while, not because of SOTG, but because there are more eyes in better position than without. And whats even more comforting is that our sport does have a reasonably sound system of checks and balances. The contest system is quite effective and one of my favorite moments in Ultimate is when I can look my opponent in the eye and say, "That's a good contest."

In any event, after 4 months of LSAT prep, I have learned the power and risk of assumptions and the World Cup has shown us that refs botch things quite often. Bottom line, much like Germany/England and Argentina/Mexico, the better team won. Even with USA/Slovenia, whatever issues the official created did not end up affecting the competition in the end. Rarely is it the case that poor officiating actually changes the course of a game and in that rare instance, our current system would have prevailed. Ultimately, Rule #76: No excuses, play like a champion.

just my thoughts

match diesel

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Heros Get Remembered, but Legends Never Die

Today marked the end of Ken Griffey Jr.'s career and for those that know me well, such a day brings a significant amount of emotion into the heart of an already emotional person.

To call me a Griffey fan is an understatement. Beginning at the age of 6, I became obsessed with everything Griffey. From his baseball cards to autographed balls and bats to jerseys to video games, posters, trips to Seattle, wearing a gold #24 around my own neck. I even used to sleep with his 1989 upper deck rookie card while it was in a bullet proof glass case.

Bottom line, for over 20 years the number 24 has been a mainstay in my life, so much in fact that I have even considered getting it tattooed on my body. My ultimate numbers have always been 24 and a few years ago, on my 24th birthday, my mother had an authentic Seattle Mariners jersey made for me with 24 and "Match" on the back. I will always remember it as one of the best gifts I have ever received.

However, the true greatness of Griffey cannot be explained with statistics, his picture perfect swing, his smile or even one of a hundred of his over the wall catches. In my opinion, his greatness is best understood in looking at his dark years from 2000 to today, the years plagued with injury and mediocrity. Why? In 50 years, hell in 5 years, the period that Griffey played in will always be known as the steroid era. Bonds, McGwire, Canseco, Palmeiro, A-Rod, Manny, Clemens, they all have had amazing careers that were boosted because of a pill or a needle. Some people, including myself, are even waiting for players like Pujols to get popped, because in all honesty, crushing home runs year after year draws skepticism these days.

But what of Griffey? See in my opinion, the late 90's marked a very crucial moment in two highly parallel careers. Griffey was riding some serious momentum after an MVP and even a few playoff appearances and Barry Bonds, while winning 3 MVPs by 1993, had to watch Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire break Maris' record and earn the praise he so longingly wanted. Both were fantastic players at the top of their careers, but it was at this point that the two athletes spiraled into two hugely different directions.

This is speculation, but the consensus seems to be that Bonds started hitting the juice around this time and before you know it he became a monster. Soon after he begins to put up insane numbers and only three years removed from Big Mac's 70, he hits 73. As for Griffey? Well there isn't much to tell. A broken wrist here, issues with a hamstring there. A failed stint with the Reds. Basically nothing. Why do we care? Because there is no better comparison between a player that used and a player that didn't.

Griffey will be a first ballot Hall of Famer for many reasons, the most compelling of which is the same reason Bonds won't be. He played the game honestly. I have no doubt temptation crossed his mind once or twice, but unlike many players that have ridiculous career spikes in odd places, Griffey's career is a testament to what professional baseball does to a person. No one, even the The Kid, is invincible to the wear and tear of 162 games, and in a time where so many athletes fail to represent the heroes we all hope they should be, Griffey's legacy will endure. Never have I been more proud to be a fan of #24.

In addition to Griffey's retirement, there is another layer of this Legends and Heroes post. Mike Grant. Much like Griffey, when anyone in ultimate hears that name, the word "excellence" can't help but come to mind. For the past 10 or 12 years MG has represented the absolute pinnacle of Ultimate performance and wherever you go, no matter who you ask, any knowledgeable ultimate enthusiast will say, "He's the best player in the world." And what is even more impressive is that no one, save maybe a few Fish, could ever dispute this. How do I know this? Because I threw with Chicken a few hours ago and he told me, without any sort of prompt, that in his prime, MG was the best to ever play the game.

However, much like Griffey, it appears that MG's career has come to an end. Off and on I've tried to approach my Furious contacts to write about his exit, but I can understand if it is a sore subject. Perhaps he feels three gold medals and three UPA club titles are enough. Perhaps Furious' dip in performance the last few years has compelled him to reassess his priorities. Whatever the reason may be, the fact still remains, the game has lost its best player. Fortunately for me, I had the opportunity to meet and interview him directly after arguably the biggest win of his career, which for me was a moment that could only be eclipsed by three things, 1) my PhD defense, 2) my wedding day, or 3) the day my son/daughter is born.

With this in mind, I'm sure you can all guess why I have put Griffey and Grant in the same post. They are my heroes, they are simply why I care. At 6 it only took my older brother giving me a 1989 Donruss and at 19, only a little blurb in a UPA Magazine, but these two players changed my life and what's is even more important, is that they represent the best components of their respective games. They are, through and through, absolutely pristine examples of what little boys and girls should strive to be when they pick up a glove or a disc. Yes, there are other fantastic role models in each game, but I strongly believe that in looking at a career, bookend to bookend, you can't do much better than Griffey and Mike Grant.

In summation, peripheral to actual competition, these two athletes have compelled me to become the thinker, the writer, the scientist, the journalist, and most importantly, the man I am today. Thank you.

just my thoughts

match diesel

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Blue Print: The Road to the Repeat

In many ways 2008 was one of the worst years of my life. My graduate work was in shambles, my personal relationships a train wreck and, worst of all, I suffered a Jones Fracture at the first practice of the club season and was sidelined during the best season Colt .45 ever had. However, despite these unfortunate circumstances, I will always remember 2008 as the most fantastic whirlwind of my young life.

For those that may have forgotten or were not around for it, 2008 began with a dozen or so college previews followed by tournament recaps and a few trips to places like Austin, Texas, Boulder, Colorado, Vancouver, Canada and Sarasota, Florida. Looking back I cannot help but wonder what could have compelled such behavior and in reflection I can think of one word, "passion". Fortunately for me, I was brave enough to let my passion get the better of me and in so doing found out who and what I truly am.

This journey was not one I traversed alone however and I owe a large debt of gratitude to many people and organizations. Of them, I think the most thrilling come from a handful of players and teams that made 2008 arguably the most exciting ultimate season the sport has ever seen. With characters like Joe Kershner, Will Neff, Kurt Gibson, Jolian Dahl and Mark Sherwood, I was never short of superstars to investigate and teams like Arizona, Dartmouth, Michigan, Florida, Colorado, Pitt, Georgia, and Carleton made every tournament feel like Memorial Day.

But there was one program that was heads and shoulders above all others. There was one collection of warriors that carried a confidence, a swagger, a sense of pride, and, most of all, a love for each other and for our game, that is likely to never be duplicated. The Wisconsin Hodags represented the absolute pinnacle of competitive achievement two years ago and I can say with no exaggeration that in covering them from wire-to-wire, they were one of the most epic teams to have ever played the game.

Beginning in May of 2006 this team was set on becoming the most dominant force ultimate had ever seen. Losing 15-12 to Florida in the sweltering heat of Columbus, Ohio left an aftertaste that only teams like the Buffalo Bills or Cleveland Cavaliers can understand. Because of this, each member of Baby Blue returned home with a focus and a dedication that few people in this world can understand.

A few short months later, Classic City Classic and the beginnings of a new season were upon them. In February of 2007 Wisconsin once again starred down the barrel of a focused Florida program and once again came up short. Such a loss only renewed their commitment to excellence and never again that season did they taste defeat. But they also never faced Florida again.

So into the offseason they returned, still burned by a defeat that in all seriousness should have been washed away with one of the most convincing National Titles ever earned. But these are no ordinary flatballers.

It may have taken over a year but finally, Wisconsin earned their re-match with Gibson's Gators on a windy Sunday morning in Austin, Texas. Emotion could not have been higher, especially considering Wisconsin's lackluster Saturday, a paltry 4-1 pool play performance. They had been 16-0 the previous two years.

However, much like Columbus and Vegas, Florida would be the victor. Once again Florida had snatched victory from the Hodag jaws and once again Wisconsin would return to Madison beaten and frustrated.

Through sectionals, regionals, and two days of Nationals both Florida and Wisconsin were perfect and on May 18th, 2008 the showdown of a lifetime was set. One could argue regional finals carry comparable emotion and history to this bout, but it would be a hopeless venture. This was a contest that had been brewing for the bulk of each competing players' careers and never before had a contest featured such competitive giants of College Ultimate against one another.

After nearly a decade of following College Ultimate, I have never seen a game carry as much significance as that day in Boulder, Colorado. For three years these juggernauts gave ultimate fans the most exhilarating ride in College Ultimate and as if it were written in the stars the once weary Hodags were victorious.

However, unlike some of the most historic seasons in College Ultimate history, this trilogy of championships has been carefully captured and archived. Fortunately for all of us the entire saga, each short coming, each success, each chapter of this story has been documented and is now ready to own.

The Blue Print: The Road to the Repeat is the story of Wisconsin's emergence as one of the most dominating forces in the history of ultimate and the tireless historians from Madison are ready to share their work that is now 5 years in the making.

With the help of UltiVillage this DVD will be available to any fan, player, or follower that wants to witness, understand, and, dare I say, repeat a bit of history. Our sport rarely archives greatness and considering how rare true greatness is, such an opportunity is something no ultimate purist could pass up.

This weekend at College Nationals will be the first opportunity to acquire pre-sale copies of the documentary. Be one of the first to earn your seat for a truly awe-inspiring performance.

Here is the official press release for the documentary:

"The BluePrint: The Road to the Repeat” is a feature length documentary that follows the full season of the 2008 Wisconsin Hodags. After two years in a row of making finals, losing and then winning once, the Hodags set out to bring the championship back to Madison for a third time in six years. This would be a trial of focus, dedication, and unity for a team beleaguered by a record snowfall winter, and a line up of bitter competitors waiting for their shot at the returning champs.

The film highlights the 2008 Hodag season through eight tournaments interspersed with scenes from grueling workouts and intense field practices. Feel the contrast of a team which thrives on the ideal of Hodag Love, but expects nothing less than perfection from itself. Catch all the action as rivalries with college Ultimate powerhouses like Florida, The Colorado Mama Bird, and The Carleton Ultimate Team unfold.

Pre Sales start this Memorial Day Weekend!

Click here for more information on Wisconsin Ultimate.

just my thoughts

match diesel

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

PED's in Ultimate

Is it possible? Is it impossible? Is there a sport better suited for PED use?

After following the Cushing story for a little while, I can not help but consider the possibility that PED's are in our sport.

Ok, first off, lets re-visit the definition of Performance Enhancing Drugs. In glancing at Wikipedia's page on the topic, I couldn't help but notice that marijuana actually can be a PED in sports like archery to reduce jitters and to steady one's hand. Using this definition, PED's are definitely in our sport.

However, what about the good stuff like steroids and HGH? Is it possible that they exist in ultimate? I suppose those that have never thought about it, or come across anyone who has, these sorts of PEDs are not unlike hard drugs. I personally have only seen cocaine twice and have never seen heroin, PCP, Ecstasy, etc.. and would have no clue how to procure any of them, even if I wanted to. That does not mean that they do not exist though and given the fact that steroid use is prevalent in high schools across the US, I am inclined to believe a motivated adult could find whatever they thought would help.

This concept is even more alarming when considering the number of players in our sport. A quick glance at the college rankings site indicates that there are over 600 teams registered on the score reporter, in the open division alone. Now I do not claim that all are active teams, but that is a lot. If I could venture a guess as to how many people play ultimate, I suspect the number would fall in the 10s of 1,000s and with such a large sample size, I am skeptical that 100% are clean.

What's worse is that ultimate, like most professional sports, is ideal for PED abuse. Some say steroids or HGH can not help you hit a fastball, but they sure as shit can help you heal. That is the canonical use for steroids. Can you imagine how valuable such a substance would be in getting through an arduous 6 month season? What about overcoming an injury or giving you the boost you need to make the cut? Which brings me to my next point, who would consider using.

For most top shelf athletes, PED use in ultimate is likely unnecessary. If you are gifted physically, you likely have no interest in artificially boosting your body's ability and would likely feel unimaginable guilt and regret if you did so. But realistically, such athletes do not constitute a majority. They represent the small few that can walk onto a field and stun the masses simply by doing their thing. But what about the rest of us? How badly do you want to make the A team? What would you sacrifice? And are you even mature enough to understand the implications and consequences of your actions?

I suppose one could counter that because one's financial stability does not depend on their performance in ultimate, the temptation is not as prevalent as in professional sports. My response to this lies with availability. Yes, if sequestering steroids required knowing the right people, paying the right price, and/or venturing into some really dark places, steroid use would be a rough road for the recreational player to traverse. However, with websites like this and this, one just needs a credit card. Punch in a few numbers and your address and boom, welcome to 20 inch pythons. The ease of the internet once again shows that it comes with some drawbacks.

Considering the fact that abuse knows no age and the sport has grown into the same demographics that have already been shown to use PEDs (high school students) I am inclined to believe that somewhere, someone is using. That being said, my biggest question is "How does this affect spirit of the game?" Forget refs, forget muscling for position, travel calls, or double teaming. What about steroids?

Scary as it may sound, perhaps someone reads this and gets an idea. Hopefully it is an administrator looking to build some sort of testing infrastructure, but I suspect it could be a college kid who's a little scrawny, who loves the game, and simply HAS to make his/her A team. And to add to the temptation, who's going to stop him/her? What is in place to even address the issue? Once again, forget refs, what about PEDs?

I suppose this issue is a few years down the road, but only because no one has been busted yet. It took Black Tide getting booted from Nationals to get people to pay attention to years of eligibility. Then again, how would one currently even recognize or catch a PED user? Which is probably the scariest component to the argument. We simply can't.

just my thoughts

match diesel

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Importance of Stats

Last night I caught "61*" on HBO and for those that have not seen it, the movie is a pretty sweet depiction of the homerun race between Mickey Mantle and Roger Marris in the summer of '61. Billy Crystal, a huge Mantle fan, articulates the struggles of both players as they try and break Babe Ruth's single season homerun record, "The most most respected record in all of sports". Being a sucker for emo-sports stories such as this, I was taken in by the flick nearly 10 years ago when it first aired, and once again, caught myself getting a little misty. Although in the wake of the steroid era, it is kind of hard to feel any positive emotion when Big Mac is on screen.

In any event, this movie got me thinking about ultimate and how we really don't have that many records. Yes there is DoG's epic run of 6 consecutive championships, but for me it draws similarities to ULCA's championship runs in the 60's and 70's. They were incredible and will never be forgotten, but the increase in parity makes duplicating such a result unlikely.

With the rise in fan appreciation for all sports, focus often falls on one record or another. From the '72 dolphins, to Cal Ripken, Wayne Gretzky, Joe DiMaggio, Wilt Chamberlain, etc... we can all think of records that command attention and inspire hope, even for those of us that will never see a professional playing field.

Some might say these records are irrelevant and that players don't pay any attention to them, but I would argue that most professional athletes cared at one point or another, if only as a child, and all would agree that records are an important part of sports. Can we say the same for ultimate? What records are there? I know Joe Seidler could probably name more than a few, but I get the feeling most folks would be left flat when asked what records are treasured in ultimate.

The only thing that really comes to mind is the perfect season, which to my knowledge has not been done, at least not recently (Perhaps an ex-NYNY player will correct me, but for arguments sake, lets say there has never been a team that has gone undefeated). Since I have played the game Stanford, Florida and Wisconsin have all come close with records of 37-1 (2002), 49-1 (2006), and 55-1 (2007), respectively, and I believe all three could claim to be the best college teams ever assembled. Now I am not here to claim that the perfect season is the ideal record, its just one that comes to mind. In reality, I think it is a goal that could prove to be counter productive. Considering the fact that all my "1-loss" teams are college programs, it is obvious that no one really cares about the perfect season in the club sphere.

However, what I am trying to claim is that ultimate could benefit from well known/accepted records and more importantly an improved system of keeping statistics, which is obviously where records come from. One of my favorite components of every UPA magazine that features recaps of Nationals (college or club) is the championship stat sheet where I can see who had good/poor games and how clean/sloppy the finals were. To my knowledge, no game has ever been turnover free, but I do sometimes find myself talking about the epic Furious/DoG semifinal from 2002, Kyle Weisbrod's #1 game of the decade, which seems to be the pinnacle of ultimate performance.

With this in mind, I am curious to know what records could manifest in ultimate. Given that our sport is prone to speciality positions at the highest level I doubt a triple crown of 1) Goals, 2) Assists and 3) D's would be possible. Perhaps single season records of each could be cool, but I wonder if lopsided teams would dominant such stats, thus making any sort of record irrelevant. Another route, much like goalie records in hockey, could be player completion percentage but I wonder if keeping track of passes would be overwhelmingly tedious. Regardless, I know that such stats where kept at least once at the 2005 World Games in Germany, and I can vividly remember combing through them that summer with a grin from ear to ear.

Then there are team records. I mentioned DoG's run of championships, and the "clean sheet", but what about football-esk records like average points against. I am sure Muffin, Mahowald, Hohenstein, and the rest of the '07 Hodags would love to be talked about the way the Steel Curtain is, especially considering the fact that offense has such a major advantage in our game.

Ultimately (ha! I always find it funny to use that word in ultimate articles) I don't really feel anything for any of these records which, given our sport, is not surprising. I respect total number of championships, but in all honesty, they are respectable almost to the point of boredom. Yes de Frondeville's got like 11 rings, I'm over it. Give me something a little more exciting to pay attention too.

Which brings me to my final point. In 2008 I had the time of my life covering ultimate and when I look back at all the seasons I have followed the most epic are always the ones I followed most closely. I think 2005 was the best college nationals in recent history, but it was also the first time I ever attended them. I think 2008 had the most compelling stories with Kershner, and Florida and Wisconsin, but then again I was at Centex, and Nationals, and followed every team with a magnifying glass. Since then I, and what looks like most of the ultimate community, have not been paying attention. I was approached to write the College Open Preview because somebody flaked and I struggled for talking points, especially with the Callahan. And it wasn't just me. Everyone I contacted sort of shrugged their shoulders and was like, "I dunno" and/or had some sort of heavy regional bias. All in all, I find the focus on ultimate, college or club, is pretty weak and has been for the past two years and I think statistics would make a difference. I mean come on, take a look at baseball. The game is nothing but numbers and I am sure more than a few of you out there care more about WHIP than you'd care to admit because of your fantasy team.

Anyway, long story short, I wish our sport kept better records. I have bitched numerous times that we don't archive our history well and now that we have a consistent score reporter, I now want statistics. Goals, assists, turnovers, D's. Think how much analysis of the game would change if we had such information. Who's the best? Who's the most consistent? Who's improved the most? With cold hard data, everything would change. High risk high reward players would be exposed for their carelessness and cool and steady flatballers would gain the credit they deserve. Strengths and weaknesses could be improved or taken advantage of with greater efficiency. Hell we might even get a record or two to chase when the dust settles.

I am sure I'm just yelling at the rain, but here is one way to make ultimate more like professional sports without talking about refs and SOTG, keep track of stats.

just my thoughts

match diesel

Monday, March 1, 2010

Another Monday

Another UCSD Tourney Win.

Yep, they did it again. Santa Barbara could have been better, but since Pres Day the ol' squiddies are 14-0 with 2 tournament victories. There is some obvious redundancy regarding their victories (i.e. UCLA, SDSU, Davis and Cal), but much like a Boise State, TCU or Cincinnati, they are winning the games put in front of them and that is more than I can say for most teams.

In a year where their 0-3 (2007) and 0-4 (2008) Stanford Invite Pool Play performances finally caught up with them, UCSD delivered and that is commendable. Much like the NIT, qualifiers are a serious gut check for "elite teams" and unlike Kentucky or Florida, UCSD proved themselves and earned their shot at the posh Stanford Invite.

As for other Ultimate News, I get the feeling that this UPA ranking system is going over like a Led Zeppelin. A friend of mine from UConn was a bit perturbed that despite going to Florida, Vegas, and North Carolina (all before March 1st) they only have 3 official games recorded. He mentioned something about Gerics being suspended for a year, which sounds pretty lame given the fact that he isn't a player, but in all honesty, I think the only people being hurt are the players, which sucks. I am sure the UPA has methods for their madness and it may take a year or two for this idea to prove itself, but I really have no clue what I'm looking at. Regardless, I'm sure Florida, Colorado, Carleton, or Wisconsin will be in the winner's circle come May. In the mean time, everyone else give'em hell.

just my thoughts

match diesel

Monday, February 15, 2010

Return of the Squidi

The year was 2005, the place was Baltimore Airport. I was hating life after a recruiting trip at Johns Hopkins. After taking down half a dozen Long Islands the previous night, I woke up on the floor of my hotel room. My groggy/drunk/confused perspective that morning was rocked when I realized my flight was taking off at that exact moment. I made it to BWI about an hour late and spent the next 10 hours missing flight after flight on stand bye. As for my hangover, I can only describe it as comparable to whatever Saints fans are gonna feel after Mardi Gras.

Regardless, I was in much better shape than my poor UCSD counterparts. See while I was hating life back east, Bamboo was making his proverbial deal with the devil sending the likes of Oregon, Texas, Colorado, UBC, (insert elite program here) all over the San Diego Area to compete in what was left of a rained out Pres Day. While having balls the size of Sean Payton's, Jake didn't make any friends with the local housing communities and got UCSD's Ultimate program suspended for 6 weeks and Pres Day banned until 2007. To this day, the ripple effect of this tourney transgression continues to be felt, but finally the wake has made a return trip and given the La Jolla crowd some positive energy.

With the Pres Day vacancy of 2006, Skip changed the face of Spring Ultimate and recruited everyone save Georgia to the first Trouble in Vegas. In the coming years, TiV's success grew like the Vegas strip with Arizona, Florida, and Wisconsin making ultimate headlines that are now stapled in Flatball History Books.

What of Pres Day? Well a few folks made the trek in 2007 but I believe it was rained out once again. The following year borrowed some Sunburn hype and a tourney win for Texas, but TiV still owned the spotlight.

But as I wrote last week, what the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away. Last year TiV was about as exciting as the most recent BCS title game in that the right teams were there but the experience left something to be desired. Folks were understanding, but the atrocious conditions left many players bitter. By this time, UCSD's sense of betrayal by Cultimate was in full swing and rather than make the 5hr drive to Vegas, they stayed home and made the finals of the tournament everyone used to attend.

Much like Obama, Cultimate's popularity has been in a steady downward spiral the last 12 months. From C1 to suspect tournament scheduling to another TiV debacle, the hits keep on coming. Considering the fact that Ultimate players are among the most frugal in the sports world, hitting the pocket book without tournament glory is going to draw some frowns. Like Obama, the promises made were well beyond the realm of possibility, but nobody, even myself, wanted to acknowledge it.

However, much like 2005/2006, one man's trash is another man's treasure. This past weekend was one for the ages for my beloved Squiddies and that previous feeling of inadequacy has now been replaced with sheer confidence. Confidence in knowing you're better than the cards you've been dealt, confidence in knowing Cultimate would get theirs, and confidence to run off 4 breaks in a row to beat a team that boat raced you 13-5 three weeks prior.

Congrats to my RIMAC warriors. Although my life has taken me farther away from my roots than I would like, I still keep a watchful eye on my alma matter and my ear to the Grind Stone. Even in the Honda and Bofa days where we actually beat Colorado once, were invited to Stanford and made Semis at Nationals, we still couldn't win Pres Day. Much like the Saints, 2010 is a year of redemption for UCSD. Peripheral to the Stanford Open/Invite, Centex, Regionals, Nationals, or whatever tournaments you guys do or do not make, Pres Day was a success and 2011 will assuredly bring a few more Cultimate converts. San Diego may not have the cling-cling-cling of Vegas but it has the beach, women, and burritos. Three things that any age group can enjoy and three things the Southland does better than anywhere else.

Glory favors the patient my friends and much like Sunburn's emotional win at Vegas, this year is yours for the taking. I have always been proud to be a squid and in an age where Florida, Carleton, Wisconsin, and Colorado box out most from the spotlight, moments like this are beyond words. The Hodags can have Mardi Gras, JoJah can have Queen City. We just won our own mother fucking tournament.

just my thoughts

match diesel

Monday, February 8, 2010

Who Dat?!?!

Best NFL season of my young life and my team went 3-13. Yep, thats right, I'm a Bucs fan and thanks to Lane "famous for being famous" Kiffin, I had to find other ways to enjoy the football season this year. I went with conventional weapons and got into two Fantasy Leagues and thanks to Phillip Rivers, Dallas Clark, Ray Rice, and basically the Vikings Offense, I was in good shape.

But I still had a problem, the GF. We basically live together and getting >15hrs of sports coverage a week under her nose was not going to be easy. I'm a crafty SOB though and figured if I could get her emotionally invested in a team, ANY team, I'd make magic happen, and oh did it happen.

Being from Canada, the girl really digs on French stuff and by week 2 she showed signs of interest in the Saints logo. I knew they were easy front runners to go deep into the playoffs so I nurtured the shit of her kindling interest. By Christmas I had her in a custom Saints T-shirt with name/number and come the playoffs, all I needed was a little luck (i.e. Brett Favre late in the 4th quarter) and I could watch all the football I could handle.

She proved to be quite the student I might add and by Super Bowl Sunday, I had created a veritable monster that was telling her friends all about Archie Manning and the status of Dwight Freeney's ankle. In addition, I also managed to get some College hoops hooks in her by taking her to the Kentucky/Uconn game at MSG, which proved pivotal for bridging the weekly gap between MNF and College GameDay.

Anyway, by kickoff we had the Super Bowl Party in full swing with 5-6 friends chowing on veggies, nachos, and pizza, while watching the game on my "the picture is so good it'll make your dick hard" TV. For beverages the girl made Who Dat Mojitos.

At one point in the first quarter someone suggested that we do shots every time the Saints score and considering the fact that I had an unopened bottle of Wild Turkey collecting dust in the closet, I was quick to get some drinking momentum started. Plus I was a little nervous after NO's lackluster start, so I figured getting drunk was a good move. I also realized that I had never been shit-faced for the Super Bowl because I always had work on Monday. Eh, fuck it this time.

To my surprise, rather than let Peyton carve us up like a Thanksgiving Turkey, we actually made a game of it. Not converting on 4th and goal was a little disheartening (I don't know why they didn't give it to Kardashian) but thankfully Hartley's leg saved us some face and we were only down 4 going into half. I actually missed the onside kick on a food run but in retrospect I'm glad I did so. I can be a bit volatile at times and considering that this was the gutsiest play in Super Bowl history I may have gotten myself evicted had I been there. Thankfully, we were off to the races by the time I returned and before I knew it, we were up 13-10 off Pierre Thomas' 16-yd TD. BTW, did you guys see the 2 blocks on that play? Sick!

And with another TD, came another shot. This is when things start to get a little blurry, especially for the GF, but as our BAL's increased, so did the excitement, go figure. A TD from Addai and another 40+ yd field goal from Hartley and we were at 16-17 at the end of the 3rd quarter. At this point in time I remembered the squares pool I was in and that I had Saints 6/Colts 7. Dialed!!

The only thing we needed now was the lead and thankfully Brees and Shockey hooked us up for another shot of Bourbon. I actually managed to sucker a friend into a second shot after he jumped the gun before the 2-pt conversion. "If we win the challenge, you gotta do another" BOOM! I felt like I was back in college getting freshman wasted.

Next thing I know we are up 7 with about 5 min to go and Peyton's driving, shit! The 4th and 2 conversion was tough to watch but it set up the second most exciting Pick 6 I have ever seen, the first being Rhonde Barber's in the 2003 NFC title game. I about had a heart attack and despite shaking the foundation of the 7th floor, we managed to collect ourselves and kill the bottle of whiskey. Enter all the hoopla and post game interviews.

By the time the dust settled most folks had left and my beloved was passed out on the floor. I had been giving her a foot massage and she slid off the couch in comfort. As I gazed down at her beautiful face, decorated with eye black, I thought to myself, "this is one of the happiest moments of my life". It was tough to articulate this moment to her this morning but when I drew the mental picture of a tuckered out 3 year old holding up the pennant of his favorite/winning team while asleep on the couch after all the action, she got the picture.

In reflection of this NFL season, I must call it my favorite. I made the finals in both my fantasy leagues, going 1-1. I won the free league and lost the money league but still managed to get 1/2 the pot. My Bucs sucked but I was able to bring a new sports fan into the world. I think the victory meant more to me than it did to her, but she's now got a special place in her heart for Brees (who doesn't) and will hopefully be a Na'Lens fan for life. With the money from the pool I'm going to get her some "Saints are Champions" schwag and I also plan to make good on her, "Lets go down to Tampa for Saints/Bucs" request. She digs the pirate ship and canon at Raymond James....girls.

A Little Spittle
As for our beloved flatball, things looked like they could have gone better this weekend. I find it terribly ironic that the circumstances that helped birth TiV (rained out PresDay '05) have reared their ugly head in the most unexpected place, the desert. What the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away. Good luck getting another 70+ teams out next year when they can go somewhere a little more under 21 friendly.

Or not, I hear the Yale guys spent 6 hrs at a strip club. That sounds like expensive fun, something Ivy Leaguers love.

And I also couldn't help but comment on this thread on RSD. It looks like someone out there in cyber space is doing a little yelling at the rain. I've been there myself and despite all the data, little will be done. It will make Oregon a more focused team in the future, but in all honesty, the best strategy is to learn how suck it up and do it again.

just my thoughts

match diesel

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lets get to 200,000 hits

I wish I had a fantastically passionate article to write, but, sadly, I only have jaded opinions brought on by years of grandstanding. However, I would like to get up and over 200,000 hits so here are a few talking points to get 1,000 more or so.

I managed to sneak into Beware-O this past year. I tried to fly under the radar by introducing myself as "Mike" to my new teammates but having 808 on the team steadily unraveled that plan. This tournament experience was actually quite amazing because it was only the second time I have ever played with my cousin, Alex Seber, in a tournament setting and like the first, (Wild Wood) we won the tournament. This came as a huge surprise to me because I had just been on a 3 day bender in San Francisco with Alex and I failed to get any sleep the night before the tournament thanks to a horribly audible salt water fish tank in Al's living room. Nonetheless, we won the thing which is weird because I remember feeling so inadequate in 2003 when I played Beware-O last. We didn't go undefeated, losing our last pool play game, but we performed steadily in bracket play and despite being down 10-6 in the finals, we came back and beat Robot's team 13-11.

Which brings me to my next topic, this Robot character. For those that do not know this guy, he is an LPC legend who has been hyped since at least my junior year at UCSD, which was in 2003/04. His ora and the way people talk about him reminds me of the way Roger Williams sweated Teddy. I have only played against Robot twice, once in 2004 when I was captaining Squid Lite (we won) and in the finals of Beware-O. Now, as I mentioned before, 808 was on my team and like Robot, the two have this silent majesty about them. Unlike myself, they prove themselves on the field and let everyone else do the talking. This made for an interesting final with two similar, yet drastically different, players (both LPC alums) going at it. We all know 808 made the popularity game back at Potlatch, but in all honesty, I thought he won the battle against Robot. He played endlessly tight man defense. Was consistent and executed well on offense and did everything I now know he is capable of. Hats off to 808, you sort of already had my respect (I don't really know why) but it was reaffirmed.

Another thing that has been entertaining for me the last few months has been watching events go down in the Ultimate community more or less how I predicted. It kinda makes me feel like Nostradamus but don't tell my girlfriend, she'll vomit from the self ego padding.

What do I mean? Well, I wrote this 8 months ago, and what do I see in the UPA magazine this time around? "Free Agency in Ultimate". That was entertaining. I was on the other side of the discussion, but either way, I saw it coming. Plus I saw this article and happened to LOVE IT.

Then there was Gibson's Story. Heijmen was actually very nice and sent me an email giving me props before it was published in the UPA magazine, but I kind of like that I got the story first. The UPA has character limits up the ying-yang so I didn't really want to even pursue magazine publication. I mean come on, that story in less than 500 words, forget it.

Lastly, my Back Behind Closed Doors article. This was one I wrote around the same time as District 5, and while some disagreed with my opinions, I think I hit the nail on the head. What's funny is that a critic of mine seems to have fallen victim to the same fate as I, yet he unknowingly benefitted from me "taking some responsibility". As further validation, I got an email from a National Champion asking me to get back on the writing horse to motivate him and his teammates towards a repeat. HA! I rule.

And who could forget this one. I like how no one even tried to talk shit about this self-aggrandizing.

Some Side Spittle
I love how a major theme we have received from Hector over the last year is that Muffin is as psychotic as everyone fears he is. Are we going to see one of these in the future?

Getting back to player emails, I think I managed to patch things up with BLW. I hated that guy for the longest time, but I guess it just goes to show that time heals all wounds.

Where is he now?
I'd like to say I am excited about the college season this year, but I'm really not. Carleton, Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin...same shit different day. I'm more stoked for the NFL playoffs and the college basketball season than anything else, especially now that UK is finally dominating the way we should. Everybody is sweating John Wall, and he is great, but Bledsoe and Cousins are right there. Not to mention Patrick fucking Patterson....guy's a champ.

I sort of want to get on Twitter to showcase just how bad ass my life is, but in all honesty, it's pretty boring. Rather than continue as the Ultimate Professional that I was, I used my blogging experience to get me two part time writing gigs that actually make a difference, and money. I mentioned this to 808 and he said, "With UltiVillage?" and I said, "No, with a mother of an autistic child and a forensic psychologist." I thought that was funny. The Ultimate community and sub-culture is great, but I'm over it. Kaimana, Wild Wood, Lei Out, Potlatch, Nationals, etc.. were all great, but its just a game and I've got more important things to do.

Plus, becoming "The best story teller in the Ultimate Community" (not my words) was fun but I'm onto bigger challenges like having a career and making lots of money. I grew up and, hopefully, most of you out there will as well.

just my thoughts

match diesel